St. John Bosco Latin Mass Community Crowns the Mother of God

Carmel, Indiana May 11, 2008 – The St John Bosco Latin Mass Community at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Carmel, Indiana crowned the Mother of God in a traditional crowning ceremony on Mother’s Day.  Father Roberto Cano, FSSP offered the Traditional Latin Mass prior to the crowning ceremony.  Mr. Robert M. Hofmeister and his son Nicholas were the altar servers. 

Father Cano is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Augusto Cano of Lafayette, Indiana.  Father Cano studied at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Denton, Nebraska and in Rome before becoming a priest of the FSSP. 

The next Traditional Latin Mass will be on May 18th at 5:00 pm at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Carmel, Indiana. 

 

 

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True Faith

Father Roberto Cano, FSSP

 

Arise be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee.  Isa. LX, 1

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost Amen.

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This solemn feast of the Epiphany is the continuation of the mystery of Christmas, of that mystery of God becoming man.  As the meaning of the word Epiphany suggests, the Church commemorates on this day God’s manifestation to the Gentiles.  Unlike the Old Covenant, where God would make Himself manifest through a burning bush or a pillar of cloud, in the New and Eternal Covenant God manifests Himself as True God and True Man, in the Person of Jesus Christ.   It was decreed in the divine plan to impart first the fruits of the redemption to the nation of the Jews as is clear by Our Lord’s birth in the land of Israel and by the announcement of the angels to the shepherds on the night of Christmas.  However, on the Epiphany, God is also manifested to the Gentiles as is understood by the coming of the Magi from the East.  In the Magnificat antiphon of today’s feast we pray, “We celebrate a holy day adorned by three miracles: this day a star led the Magi to the manger; this day water was changed into wine at the marriage-feast; this day Christ chose to be baptized in the Jordan for our salvation, alleluia.”  Indeed, the Church recalls these three miracles on this particular day as they are all clear manifestations or epiphanies of the divinity and dignity of Christ, the Redeemer and Savior of the world.  What is it then, that the Church wishes us to contemplate?  It would seem that the Church through these miracles is evoking our faith in the divinity of the helpless Babe of Bethlehem.  It is only fitting then to speak about the virtue of faith and its great importance in our lives as Catholics.

            Faith-what is it?  It is a supernatural habit by which we firmly believe those things to be true which God has revealed.  Or to put it in the words of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews, “faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not” (Heb. XI, 1).  Faith, as you all know, is a theological virtue meaning that its end or object is Almighty God.  By the virtue of faith man seeks to know the truth about God and the created world in its relation to God from the point of view of the First Truth, that is, God Himself.  Which means that faith first and foremost is a gift bestowed on man by God since it is only through this gift that man can view God and the created world from His point of view as He created and intended them.  Faith is not something man can obtain by his own volition.  It essentially orders the intellect towards God and gives it the ability to determine if a certain proposition is true depending on whether or not it is in accord with divine Revelation.  The virtue requires, however, a further act which we call the act of faith or believing.  Mainly, it is the assent of the intellect under the motion of the will to a truth proposed for belief which is based upon sufficient authority.  The sufficient authority is Almighty God and since He is the authority the believer has the absolute certainty that what He believes is true.  To put it simply, in order to believe we need both our intellects and wills, our intellects to tell us what to believe and our wills to assent to it.  But in order for our wills to grant assent there must be a further habit which perfects the will and that further habit is charity.  Thus, faith which is accompanied by charity is called formed faith and faith without charity is called unformed faith.  The man who is in mortal sin and therefore without supernatural charity has unformed faith which renders the virtue powerless, sterile.  Although, he might have the same knowledge as any believing soul in the state of sanctifying grace e.g. belief in the Blessed Trinity, nevertheless, the divine truths have not affect upon him and he lives his life as if God did not exist.  This point is crucial when we examine our present day situation in the Church where so many baptized Catholics have fallen away from the practice of the faith.  In part, the problem can be attributed to the lack of proper catechesis, after all a man cannot love that which he does not know.  But it can also be attributed to the abundance of grave sins on individual souls that render these persons all together indifferent to the practice of the faith.   A point to keep in mind especially with our relatives and friends who have fallen away.  Often what is most needed is not a convincing argument or a tongue lashing, but rather a thorough and sincere confession to restore that soul once again in the life of grace. 

            In the ancient rite of Baptism, the godparents of the child to be baptized are asked by the priest the following question: What do you ask of the Church of God?  And they respond, Faith.  Upon which a second question is asked:  What does faith grant to you?  And they respond, eternal life.  And here, dear brethren, we have the answer to why faith is so important in our lives.  Because without faith we cannot have eternal life!  No faith, no salvation!  However, it should be clear that the priority of faith is only in the order of understanding as a traveler must first know where he is going before he can arrive to his destination.  Faith tells us what to believe to get to Heaven, but in and of itself is insufficient to get us there.  The greatest virtue in this life is charity for it will be as St. John of the Cross has said, “At the evening of this life we will be judged by our love.”  The Epistle of St. James is clear in this matter that faith without works is dead.  Faith is not simply a matter of confidence or trust in God, but rather it is operative meaning that the man of faith will cooperate with God’s grace to accomplish good works so that he can grow in charity. 

            And yet, there is another point to be gleaned from the ancient rite of Baptism, namely, that the gift of faith which God bestows comes to man through the Church.  Which necessarily implicates that the faith which grants eternal life can only come from the one Church that is its Guardian.  Since there is only One Lord there can only be one faith and one baptism, otherwise, there would be a multiplicity of faiths and baptisms which would lead to the Lord, but that is impossible!  For we either believe that Christ is the Son of God and all that He has revealed is true or we believe that He is not the Son of God and that what He said was false and nothing more than an opinion.  This is based on that undeniable metaphysical principle of non-contradiction, which states that a proposition cannot be true and true in the same respect and at the same time.  We know by faith that Christ founded His Church on earth as commissioned to St. Peter and that it is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church from which we receive the gift of faith and salvation.  It was 80 years ago to the day, that Pius XI, of blessed memory, wrote a monumental encyclical on fostering true religious unity or as more commonly called today ecumenism.  In that encyclical Mortalium Animos he states:

Christ Our Lord instituted His Church as a perfect society, external of its nature and perceptible to the senses, which should carry on in the future the work of the salvation of the human race, under the leadership of one head, with an authority teaching by word of mouth, and by the ministry of sacraments, the founts of heavenly grace…This Church, after being so wonderfully instituted, could not, on the removal by death of its Founder and of the Apostles who were the pioneers in propagating it, be entirely extinguished and cease to be, for to it was given the commandment to lead all men, without distinction of time or place, to eternal salvation: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations…” It follows then that the Church of Christ not only exists today and always, but is also exactly the same as it was in the time of the Apostles, unless we were to say, which God forbid, either that Christ Our Lord could not effect His purpose, or that He erred when He asserted that the gates of Hell should never prevail against it.  (MA, 6)

All too often in our day, there are certain members of the clergy and the faithful who wish to create false impressions of unity with the different Protestant sects and false religions of the world, but the reality is that unity, as the catechism teaches us, is based on faith, government and the sacraments.  Therefore, unity cannot be had with any group which does not share in the same divinely revealed faith or is subject to the same government, namely the Pope and the bishops in communion with him or possesses the 7 sacraments.  This is why later in the encyclical Pope Pius XI would say, “Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it.  To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it.”

All that has been said makes us return again to the Magi of today.  For these 3 Kings of Persia received the gift of faith and with haste they came to adore the King of Kings.  They saw His star in the sky and they followed even when the star was no longer visible.  And finally, when they beheld the Child with His Mother they fell on their knees and adored.  Thus, they fulfilled the prophecy of the Psalmist, “And he shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.  Before him the Ethiopians shall fall down, and his enemies shall lick the ground.  The Kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts: and all kings of the earth shall adore him: all nations shall serve him” (Ps. LXXI, 8-11).  The 3 Kings are in a certain sense our forefathers in the Faith as they were the first of the Gentiles to recognize Christ as the Messiah.  A reminder to us that the salvation of Christ is for everyone, however, we must be willing to accept it.  As we said earlier, faith is a gift and a supernatural one and if we fail to guard it and protect it we may risk to lose it forever.  Sin and especially mortal sin is our greatest enemy for it can eventually rob us of our faith.  The gift of faith is like that pearl of great price spoken about in the Gospel, who when the merchant found it, went his way and sold all that he had and bought it cf. Mt. XIII, 45- 46.  Let us never fail to forget, dear friends, that to be Roman Catholic is not for the faint of heart, but rather it is as Christ said, “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away” (Mt. XI, 12).  Why then, do we hesitate in our faith? 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost  Amen. 

The Nature of Marriage and The Family


Father Roberto Cano, FSSP 

And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. Lk. II, 51

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost Amen.            


bouguereau_song_of_the_angels.jpgOn this the octave day of the Epiphany, Holy Mother Church honors this day by focusing on the Holy Family of Nazareth.  For it was in the divine plan not only that the Son of God become man, but also that He grow and be nurtured by the loving care of parents, namely, under the care of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Due to their exalted mission as the parents of the Redeemer, St. Joseph and particularly Our Lady enjoyed great personal sanctity, and therefore serve as primary examples for both spouses and parents.  How then on such a great feast can we fail to speak about marriage and the family?
           

      God created marriage as we are told in the book of Genesis, “It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself…Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh” (Gen. II, 18, 24).  Thus, in creating marriage, God created it with a certain nature/end and with specific properties.  When God creates, He creates with a divine plan and not arbitrarily.  Any attempts by individuals or secular governments to change or distort the nature of marriage are done in vain for the very author of marriage is God Himself Who does not change.              

      In essence, marriage whether we are speaking about a Christian marriage or a natural marriage, is a contract between two parties, namely, a man and a woman from which a perpetual bond is formed.  What occurs in the marriage contract can be gleaned from the following definition: “in the marriage contract a man and a woman give and accept an exclusive and perpetual right for acts which of themselves are suitable for the generation of children.”  This is true for all marriages, and therefore if any one of the parties withholds their intention to fulfill the terms of the contract, then the contract is null and void and therefore there is no marriage.  This point is fundamental to understand particularly in our day when so many couples attempt to enter into wedlock while having the intention to not generate children from their union.  What this obviously means is that these couples were never truly married, but rather were living in a state of concubinage.  And here we see the great evil that contraception and sterilization has had on marriage and the family.  Both contraception and sterilization seek to usurp the authority of God who has established the marital act solely within the confines of marriage which by definition seeks to procreate and bring forth new life.  These artificial means, however, only serve to frustrate the end of the marital act and allow the couple to take pleasure in the act itself.  Thus, making the means, that is, the marital act an end unto itself.             

     Now Christian marriage, that is marriage between the baptized, differs from natural marriage in so far that it is more than a contract, for it has been elevated to the dignity of a sacrament and therefore is an efficacious sign of grace.  The great doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, tells us that the three blessings of Christian marriage are: children, conjugal faith and the sacrament.  Upholding the traditional doctrine Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical on Christian marriage, Casti Connubii, tells us:

Thus amongst the blessings of marriage, the child holds the first place.  And indeed the Creator of the human race Himself, Who in His goodness wished to use men as His helpers in the propagation of life, taught this when, instituting marriage in Paradise, He said to our first parents, and through them to all future spouses: ‘Increase and multiply, and fill the earth’ (CC, 11).  

It should be clear then that the primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children.  Children are brought into this world not only to populate the world and to continue the existence of the human race, but more importantly to be worshippers of the One, True God.  In order for them to do so, however, they must be baptized to receive the gift of faith and to become members of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Catholic Church.  We know from the life of St. Joseph that to be a father simply does not mean to engage in the conjugal act and bring about new life, but rather to provide, educate and form the child that is entrusted into one’s care.  It goes without saying, that those marriages which are barren of children are no less a marriage than one which may enjoy an abundance of children.  Children are a gift from Almighty God, and it is according to His Will that He bestows the gift of life to the different couples.             

      The second blessing which St. Augustine speaks about is conjugal faith and this refers to mutual fidelity between the spouses concerning the marital act.  Since “the two become one flesh” as Sacred Scripture tells us it is impossible for the marriage contract to allow for other partners aside from one’s spouse.  In essence, we are talking about the property of marriage which we call unity.  In sacramental marriage not only are the bodies of the spouses united, but even more importantly their souls are united.  Here we see the great evil of divorce which basically condones the practice of successive polygamy and polyandry, that is, the practice of having more than one wife or husband.  Since marriage is of divine institution, it is clear that no government or civil magistrate has the power to dissolve the bond which is formed so that the interested party can form another.  Married persons have to be always vigilant of maintaining their conjugal fidelity for even a willful thought or desire can betray their marriage vows.  As Christ said, “But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. V, 28).  The key, however, to remaining faithful in conjugal relations is the love one has for the other spouse.  This love must be holy and pure, not that passion filled love of lust and infatuation, but rather that love of which St. Paul speaks about, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the Church…So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  He that loveth his wife, loveth himself.  For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church” (Eph. V, 25, 28-29).  Since the love of Christ for His Bride the Church is without limits as proven by His Supreme Sacrifice on the Cross, so too must the love of a husband for his wife be without limits even unto the point of his very life.  Is it not true, dear brethren, that those moments in which conjugal fidelity is most tested are in those moments when the love of one’s spouse has lessened or become extinct?             

     The final blessing of which St. Augustine speaks about is the sacrament.  By this St. Augustine refers to that second property of marriage of indissolubility and the elevating of the marriage contract to a sacrament and therefore a source of sanctifying grace.  It is clear that marriage once validly contracted enjoys a perpetual bond that cannot be dissolved except by the death of one of the spouses.  For Christ has said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder…Whosever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her.  And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery” (Mk. X, 9, 11-12).  Indeed, the marriage union of the baptized recalls the perfect union which exists between Christ and the Church.  Archbishop Fulton Sheen would remind couples preparing for marriage that it takes “three to get married.”  How true this is particularly of Christian marriage where God must be at the center!  Although, marriage does not confer a character like baptism, confirmation and holy orders, it does confer sacramental graces continuously to the married couple.  These graces are granted so that the spouses can better fulfill their duties of state.  In the words of Pius XI:

The faithful once joined by marriage ties can never be deprived of the help and the binding force of the sacrament…the grace of matrimony will remain for the most part an unused talent hidden in the field unless the parties exercise these supernatural powers and cultivate and develop the seeds of grace they have received.  If, however, doing all that lies within their power, they cooperate diligently, they will be able with ease to bear the burdens of their state and to fulfill their duties (CC, 41). 

All too often Catholic married couples with the passing of the years forget that their marriage is a sacramental marriage.  They forget that God is at the center and willing to assist them in their duties if they seek His assistance.  Instead, they live their marriage as two persons who at one point in their lives fell in love.  They should then hear the counsel of St. Raphael to Tobias, “Hear me, and I will show thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail.  For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power” (Tob. VI, 16-17).  A Christian marriage without God is a contradiction of terms and is destined to fail.  Is it any wonder then that in such marriages the devil has already triumphed?            

      This lengthy discussion on marriage brings us to our last point which is the family.  The family is built upon the indissoluble bond of marriage and is the foundation for every culture and nation.  The Fathers of the Church when speaking about the family often called it the “domestic church.”  This is because of the similarities between the two divinely constituted institutions.  Just as the Church has a hierarchical structure with the different members fulfilling specific offices, so does the family have a hierarchical structure with different offices.  Today, however, this reality is often hidden or denied as a result of the emasculation of the male gender and the subsequent loss of authentic femininity in the female gender.  What am I speaking about?  I am speaking about the current crisis in many families where the father and the mother have reversed roles.  Although there are several factors that have caused this crisis, a large part of the problem is the great deception of our modern culture which states that there is no difference between the genders.  But this is completely absurd!  On a physical, emotional and psychological level men and women are different and in fact it is these differences which the other gender compliments.  The sacred text is clear, “male and female he created them” (Gen. I, 27).  Thus, we should realize that the family has been created by God with a certain structure in which the father is to fulfill certain specific duties that are in accord with his nature and likewise with the mother.  The father is the head and it is his principal duty to provide and protect his family.  The mother for her part is subject to her husband not as a slave or servant, but at his loving companion and it is her duty to nurture the children and tend to the upkeep of the home.  Now there may be some among the congregation who might be tempted to scoff and say, “Father that might be true for some families, but in mine it simply isn’t the case because of…”  While there might be legitimate reasons for both parents to work and aid one another in their specific roles, nevertheless, the structure of the family does not change regardless of the circumstances.  The father is the father and the mother is the mother!  And lest we forget the role of children, the children are to follow the example of Our Blessed Lord who was subject to both St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin.  They should recognize that in their obedience to their parents they are obeying the Will of God in their lives.  For all paternity on earth is a share in the paternity of the God the Father and therefore to obey one’s father is to obey one’s Heavenly Father.             

     We return once again to the Holy Family and see that the great secret of their sanctity was living their ordinary lives in an extraordinary manner.  We cannot fail to forget that Christ chose to spend the majority of His life hidden as the son of the carpenter, but even then He remained the Redeemer of the world.  By this example He shows us that we are called to live our Catholic faith in our different states of life and that there is not a task so menial or trivial that escapes the sight of God.  “Everything is grace” to put it in the words of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and so we cannot overlook our duties as an obstacle to our sanctification, but rather the means to our sanctification.  So often in our day we complain about the lack of peace in the world, but do we realize that peace begins in the home.  Peace, as St. Augustine, tells us is the tranquility of order.  The question which remains is: Do we follow the order God has established in our marriages and our families?  If the answer is no, then is there any wonder why there is unrest in the hearts of the spouses and the children?  As a priest I cannot fail to exhort the families of the parish to pray and to pray together.  You have certainly heard it said, “The family that prays together, stays together.”  For when a family is praying together then not only is it obeying the command of the Lord, but also petitioning for the help the family needs to support the weaknesses of its members.  Dear brethren, if we are praying in our families and seeking to follow the order which God has established in our families then we will be like that wise man in the Gospel who built his house upon the rock so that when the rains and floods came it did not fall.  But if we are failing to pray and follow the divine order established by God then we will be like the foolish man who built his house upon sand.  As the Scripture says, “the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof” (Mt. VII,. 27)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost Amen.

The Royal Kingship of Christ


Father Roberto Cano F.S.S.P.

 

Tu dicis; Thou sayest it; I am a King (Jn. 18, 37)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

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As it is the duty of any mother to defend and protect her children from harm’s way, so too our Holy Mother the Church seeks to defend and protect her children from the dangers of heresy and error.  There is no denying that in our day there rages a great movement in the world that desires to reject God and His law, and seeks rather to put the individual and the dictates of his natural reason at the center of society.  This is the heresy of laicism or secularism which ultimately seeks to deny the rights of God and to relegate religion as an entirely private matter and as something entirely separate and contrary to the State.  And so it is that the Church in her wisdom has established this solemn feast of Christ the King in order to combat this error.   As an annual reminder to her children and to the world that indeed Christ is King and that we, men, owe Him our allegiance and our love!  For He is King of all the created world, that which is seen and unseen and “of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk. 1, 33).  Or to put it in the words of today’s epistle: “All things were created by Him and in Him; and He is before all, and by Him all things consist” (Col. 1, 16-17).  On such a glorious feast, it is only fitting to say some words about Our Blessed Lord’s kingship and His kingdom. 

It should be noted, first of all, that this teaching of Christ’s kingship is not a novelty.  In fact, Sacred Scripture is filled with references of His kingship in both the Old and New Testament.  We cannot fail to notice that the ancient Jews had no king but God Himself until the time of Saul.  Recall the episode in the first Book of Kings where Samuel the last of the judges of Israel was approached by the people and told to make them a king to rule and judge them so that they could be like the other nations.  God then told Samuel, “Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to thee.  For they have not rejected thee, but me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Kgs. 8, 7).  From this point on, a period in Israel’s history begins where they are subject to a human king and no longer to the sweet yoke of God’s rule.  Thus, the Jews began to desperately await the coming of the Messiah, the Son of David Who is to reign forever.  However, as we well know, they were and are still seeking a Messiah that is solely a temporal ruler who will liberate them from their enemies.  The text of today’s Gospel bears witness to this fact.  The Jews arrest Christ and bring Him to Pilate to be tried because for them He is but an impostor and not their king.  They themselves will say, “We have no king, but Caesar” (Jn. 19, 15).  Yet, what does Our Lord say in the face of death?  He does not deny His Kingship, “Thou sayest it; I am a King” (Jn. 18, 37).  Thus, it is in Christ i.e. through the marvelous work of the Incarnation that God re-establishes Himself as the King of all men.  Listen again to St. Paul in today’s epistle, “…because in Him, it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, making peace through the blood of the Cross, both as to the things on earth, and the things that are in heaven, in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Col. 1, 19-20). 

The Kingship of Christ is entirely unique unlike to that of any other.  Christ is not only King, but also Priest and Prophet.  In fact, it is only He as Eternal and High Priest Who can offer a sacrifice worthy of God because He is the Victim of that same sacrifice.  That is why the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most perfect form of worship of God and if we wish to truly honor and adore Him then we should seek to assist at Holy Mass whenever possible.  But our responsibility does not end there!  Being Roman Catholic cannot be simply reduced to our Sunday obligation, but rather living our lives in conformity with our Faith.  Which is to say within our homes and families, but also in the world.  Christ our King has given us precepts by which to live our lives and that which is most important is that precept of charity, which is the love of God and the love of neighbor on account of our love of God (propter Deum).  Let us not forget that when we are judged by this Merciful King it will be as St. John of the Cross said, “in the evening of this life we will be judged by our love.”  Charity, however, in order to be authentic must always be in accord with truth.  To love a spouse or a child or any other creature more than God is not charity.  Nor is it charity to confirm someone in their sin or to remain indifferent in the face of evil.  Truth, dear brethren, is a person and that Person is Christ our King and anything that offends Him or denies Him cannot be of the truth.  Its that simple!

Now it remains to say a few words about Christ’s kingdom.  What is its origin and where can we find it?  To the first question, Our Lord gives a direct answer to Pilate saying, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18, 36).  Which is to say that Christ’s kingdom is essentially supernatural and therefore not a natural or humanly created institution.  His Kingdom, however, has two aspects one external and the other internal.  The external aspect of His Kingdom is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church which He Himself founded.  The Church as we know is in the world, but not of the world as was Christ.  It is through her that the work of the Redemption is continued and that men are brought to eternal salvation.  As baptized Catholics we can only be grateful for sharing in His kingdom on earth.  Nevertheless, we must keep in mind that Christ’s kingdom has an internal aspect as well.  For He has said, “Lo, the kingdom of God is within you” (Lk. 17, 21).  Thus, the man in the state of sanctifying grace has the Kingdom of God within Him because the three Divine Persons abide in his soul.  Our Lord’s dominion does not only affect the Catholic Church and those in the state of grace rather it embraces all men.  To use the words of Leo XIII and Pius XI, both of blessed memory, “‘His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.’ Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ.  In Him is the salvation of the individual, in Him is the salvation of society” (Quas Primas, 19).  It is the obligation, therefore, of society and every individual man to adore, worship, thank and make reparation to Christ as King.  This obligation escapes no one as these are the rights of God.

Brethren, we live in times where there is much talk about rights and even in this country there are a bill of rights considered as essential for every citizen.  There are civil rights, women’s rights, animal rights, human rights and so on and so forth.  Yet, what has happened to the rights of Almighty God?  Does not God Who created us have rights as well?  And if so, who is to defend these rights?  This solemn duty ultimately pertains to the Church as the one Source of Salvation to defend the rights of the One, True God Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Furthermore, as members of the Mystical Body this obligation pertains to us as well.  All too often, however, we as Roman Catholics are prone to throw our pearls before swine, that is, to make light or be indifferent of the deposit of Faith which we have received.  How else does one explain the on going slaughter of innocent life, the blasphemies, the sacrileges, the moral depravity and other atrocities that permeate our culture?  All of which, I can assure you, would hardly exist if Christ truly reigned as King in the hearts of Roman Catholics.  We must be firmly convinced that if we are not serving Christ our King, then we are serving the Prince of this world, the devil.  Our Lord is clear for He said, “He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth” (Mt. 12, 30).  Think of the Machabees and their zeal for the law of God and His worship: “Then Mathathias answered, and said with a loud voice: Although all nations obey king Antiochus, so as to depart every man from the service of the law of his fathers, and consent to his commandments: I and my sons, and my brethren will obey the law of our fathers.  God be merciful unto us: it is not profitable for us to forsake the law, and the justices of God: we will not hearken to the words of king Antiochus, neither will we sacrifice and transgress the commandments of our law, to go another way” (Mac. 2, 19-22) Where are the Machabees of today?  Truly, “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away” (Mt. 11, 12) as Our Lord said.  A distinction, however, must be made Our Lord is not asking us to take up arms and to declare a jihad (a holy war) against the infidel, but rather to engage in the spiritual combat against our real enemy: sin and self-love.  That is where the battle truly lies!  What is clear then, brethren, is that if we wish to reign in the Kingdom of Christ there is no room for the faint of heart.  Victory is found in the Cross of Christ alone and if we wish to reign with Him we must be willing to die to ourselves for Him. 

Finally, let us recall that all good kings have good queens that share in their work to some degree and the same is true with Christ.  For we have a most glorious queen in the Blessed Virgin Mary.  If we truly wish for Christ to reign in our lives, in our families, in our parishes (particularly this parish of St. Francis de Sales) and in our world there is no better way than going to Our Lady.  For she will seek the graces we need from her Son as our Advocate so that the work of spiritual perfection will be accomplished in us.  Then Christ will truly reign in us and through us.  Let us pray for one another for the courage and perseverance to follow our King until our last breathe that we may say for all eternity, Viva Cristo Rey—Long live Christ the King!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.